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Agronomy Update: Bringing the 2020 Crop In


Some areas of the Dairyland Seed footprint were struck by an early frost during September. Areas of Michigan, northern Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin and received a hard-killing frost, but damage in many areas tends to be of a spotty nature rather than widespread. Additionally, many areas only experienced “superficial” canopy damage.

A true killing frost typically requires temperatures that drop below 30°F for a couple hours; but under conditions that encourage rapid heat loss from plants, a few minutes hovering around 32°F could kill a plant. In addition to temperature and duration, canopy density can also play a role in crop survival. Crops with thicker canopies can insulate the plants and are better suited to absorb damage. Frost killed plants can no longer reallocate energy reserves from leaf and stem tissue to the seed, which is the natural seed filling process. The result will be a seed that is literally frozen in time.

Seed/grain on frozen crops will be smaller and of a lighter test weight and more prone to splitting or cracking, causing some handling or storage concerns. Drydown may also occur at a slower rate than otherwise anticipated during natural plant senescence. The closer a plant gets to Physiological Maturity prior to freezing, the less of a potential loss to the crop.

  • In corn, the closer to R6 or Black Layer, the better off you are.
  • For soybeans, the closer to R8 or Full Maturity (95% of the pods have reached their mature pod color) the better off you are.

We anticipate this freeze to introduce some variability into the crop in certain regions, but the Agronomy Team at Dairyland Seed is still looking at a very positive and exciting harvest season for 2020. Most producers are very happy with yields as they begin harvest, and we expect that trend to continue.


The growing season is complete and there is just one major task yet to accomplish:  bringing in the crop. Not just bringing it in but, reaping as much of the crop as possible you’ve worked hard to grow.  Harvest loss can leave dollars in the field and encompasses several areas.  We can look at harvest loss in two aspects.

  1. Machine loss
  2. Plant and weather loss

The first area, getting the combine set correctly or machine loss, is perhaps the most discussed.  Once set, continual “tweaking “may be needed as we progress through the season and harvest conditions change. This is where a relationship with the Dairyland Seed agronomists isn’t as crucial as the relationship with the service personnel at the equipment dealership. They have a similar role as an agronomist; however, they work with iron and we work with plants.  So have their numbers handy when the basics don’t seem to work correctly.

Pre-harvest losses are those lost in the field prior to the combine running through the crop.  The only way to manage this is harvest timing, hybrid or variety selection and luck of avoiding weather events. This aspect involves plant and weather loss:

  • Poor stalks and plant lodging so harvest is not possible
  • Ear drop
  • Pod shatter
  • Wind damage and blown over crop
  • Root lodging in a manner that crop cannot be harvested

The next area is assessing header loss:

  • Are you shattering beans at the header?
  • Butt shelling at the stripper plates
  • Losing whole ears through the stripper plates
  • Flipping ears out of the corn head

The final area is actual threshing losses:

  • Cylinder and rotor losses
  • Fan speed too high or low
  • Sieves and cleaning losses

All these areas of concern get added together for calculating field harvest loss. The process for checking this is to determine the amount of preharvest loss, then run your machine in typical field conditions. Stop the machine while in those typical conditions and back up about half the length of the combine to just before where the crop residue and threshed material has exited the combine. This is the area to assess header loss. Then assess the area where crop debris has been processed through the combine directly behind the machine. With these numbers in hand, you can then determine preharvest loss, header loss and separator loss for a total harvest loss number.

Most sources recommend using 10 square feet to calculate loss. Measuring off a 2 foot by 5 foot area or using a ready-made frame and then counting the kernels or seeds left behind. Experts tell us that 20 corn kernels and 40 soybean seeds within that area equals about one bushel per acre. What is acceptable loss? Resources would suggest no more than 3 percent in soybeans and 1.8 to 2 percent in corn. However, it is possible to reduce those numbers with some extra attention. So if that’s acceptable on just 60 bushel beans, no wonder some years it looks like we reseeded the crop. We have left almost two bushels on the ground! We normally seed approximately one bushel per acre so you can easily see the importance of managing harvest losses.

Remember stay calm and be safe this harvest season!


The annual Dairyland Seed Corn, Silage and Soybean Yieldmaster Contest is bigger and better for 2020. If you haven’t entered in the past, this is the year to enter your outstanding yields.

Increased Seed Credits for Winners

  • The most impactful change for our Yieldmaster Contest is the increased seed credits for our winners.
  • The National Corn, Soybean and Silage Yieldmasters will each receive a $2500 seed credit.
  • First Place Corn, Silage and Soybean winners from each zone receive a $1000 seed credit.
  • Second Place Corn, Silage and Soybean winners from each zone receive a $500 seed credit.

Expanded Corn and Soybean Yieldmaster Zones

The updated zones offer more opportunities to win.

  • Illinois/Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Michigan Early (corn 80-99 day; soybeans 0 to 1.9)
  • Michigan Late (corn 100+ day; soybeans 2.0+)
  • Minnesota Early (corn 80-99 day; soybeans 0 to 1.9)
  • Minnesota Late (corn 100+ day; soybeans 2.0+)
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin Early (corn 80-99 day; soybeans 0 to 1.9)
  • Wisconsin Late (corn 100+ day; soybeans 2.0+)

Silage Yieldmaster Zones

  • Illinois/Iowa
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Entries can be submitted online at or by working with your DSM who will submit your entry using the iPad app. Silage entries are due by November 6, 2020. Corn and Soybean entries are due December 6, 2020.

Note, each entrant is limited to one entry for the Corn Yieldmaster Contest one entry for the HiDF Silage Yieldmaster Contest, and one entry for the Soybean Yieldmaster Contest. If multiple entries are received for one entrant, the highest yielding entry will be used.

Submit your entries and show us how you are Dairyland Seed Proud!

Corteva Technology Use Agreements

All growers with orders for any Corteva Agriscience brand seed product, regardless of crop or trait (including non-GM products) need to have a signed Corteva Technology Use Agreement in place by September 1. Growers should sign the Corteva Technology Use Agreement electronically at Signing electronically is preferable, however, paper copies are available at

Brian Weller
Brian Weller
Western Region
Dan Ritter
Central Region
Branden Furseth
Northern Region
Rod King
Eastern Region
Terry Jones
Eastern Region
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